Message from the Founder
Growing up with parents who lived through China’s Cultural Revolution, which closed down schools and deprived opportunities to a generation of youth in China, the idea of unfulfilled potential drove me to contribute to the wellbeing of others through education.
During my assessment trip in Ghana in October 2014, I met Albert, a young man, on a tro tro van that weaved through Accra to bring me back to my hostel. He clutched a small cloth pouch full of rubber, nails, and bolts that he had diligently gathered for 3 days and which he planned to sell to local mechanics in the neighboring villages. He proudly proclaimed himself a ‘survival-preneur’.
I was impressed with his resourcefulness and wit. Although he will be looking for more items to fill his pouch in a few days, he declared positively—I always find something! I’ve done this since I was 12! I felt hopeful for him, but wondered how he could utilize his talents more fully to establish a more sustainable livelihood.
Albert’s story provides a glimpse into the challenges of Ghana’s economic structure, where 80% of the workforce is in the informal sector, consisting of millions of subsistence workers who live day to day.
EDUCOA’s goal is to help equip youth, like Albert, to turn their energies and ambitions from being survival-preneurs to entrepreneurs who can develop a long-term and innovative vision of their futures.
Working with a talented and dedicated team in the US and in Ghana, I am proud that we launched EDUCOA’s pilot program in Ghana in November 2014. The program involved initial activities in creating Digital Portfolios that students could use as a canvass to record and shape their ideas and future endeavors. EDUCOA’s Pilot Phase I (Nov. 2014 – July 2015) impacted about 150 students and Pilot Phase II (Aug. 2015 – July 2016) impacted about 400 students. Currently, we are poised to reach about 500 students in 2017.
Our vision is to refine EDUCOA’s educational programs to be scaled to l all ten regions in Ghana and then replicated in other countries in Africa.
As I work with my team to develop EDUCOA, I often draw inspiration from my parents who landed in the US and sought a better life for themselves and the next generation with limited skills and resources. I am, therefore, committed to translating the opportunities that they gave me to empowering youth, such as Albert. Through EDUCOA, I hope EDUCOA provides youth with tools they need, to not only aspire beyond becoming survival-preneurs, but to have the mindset and skills to seek opportunities beyond their immediate environment, and to attain a sense of ownership for creating a future economy in which they will thrive.
Founder and Executive Director
Working with the IT teacher at the Equity International School, selected pilot school